Tech

Huawei vs. Trump administration goes to the next level

U.S. government agents approached a Huawei worker at the persons home, pressured some employees when they applied for American visas and masqueraded as a former employee as part of a campaign to turn people at the Chinese telecom giant into informants, the company alleged in an internal document written amid its crushing legal battle with the Trump administration.

In the document shared with POLITICO by Huawei and originating from the companys legal department, Huawei outlines what it calls U.S. government attempts to recruit its employees, such as searching their phones and computers at ports of entry in hopes of extracting incriminating information about the company.

POLITICO could not independently verify the information in the document, but Huawei publicly accused the U.S. on Tuesday of intimidating and threatening employees and attacking the company, without providing specific details. The FBI declined to comment on the Huawei allegations.

The details of the alleged U.S. attempts to infiltrate Huawei come as the company is facing growing pressure from the Trump administration, adding to many months of allegations in Washington and in many European countries that the telecom giant is a security risk due to its close ties to Beijing.

In a Tuesday news release, Huawei asserted that law enforcement officers were deployed to “threaten, menace, coerce, entice, and incite” current and former employees to disparage the company. It also claimed the U.S. has “unlawfully” searched, detained and arrested Huawei employees.

“Our investigative techniques comply with the law and all subjects of investigations enjoy the same rights to due process afforded by our Constitution” — U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. government has also targeted the companys business partners and rivals and attempted to infiltrate its internal computer systems, Huawei alleges.

“For the past several months, the US government has been leveraging its political and diplomatic influence to lobby other governments to ban Huawei equipment,” a Huawei statement read. “Furthermore, it has been using every tool at its disposal — including both judicial and administrative powers, as well as a host of other unscrupulous means — to disrupt the normal business operations of Huawei and its partners.”

The press release did not provide evidence of the U.S. pressure, and a spokesperson did not provide additional information, but the document obtained by POLITICO adds details to the companys allegations.

It describes in some detail at least three instances in which Huawei employees were approached or involved in attempts to gain confidential company information.

Ken Hu, rotatory chairman of Huawei, attends a press conference during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona | Hector Retmal/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI visited a U.S. Huawei employees home on August 29 and asked them “to be an informant and assist FBI in acquiring information on the company,” according to the document.

In April, diplomatic officials applied similar pressure to two employees of Huaweis Colombia office when the employees tried to get personal visas to enter the U.S.

“The officials of the US Embassy asked about their employer and position,” the document alleges. “Then in a separate room, the officials asked these two employees to be advisors to the US government.”

The Justice and State departments declined to comment on the allegations. However, in a statement to POLITICO, the DOJ said, “In all matters, our investigative techniques comply Read More – Source

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